Tech Tip Tuesday ... Study Jams!

Scholastic has done it again - check out Study Jams! Study Jams is an FREE learning tool that's perfect for 3rd-6th graders to experience math and science topics by using real-life examples in a super cool online environment.

There are currently over 200 Jams available. Today's Most Popular topics are Volcanoes, Photosynthesis, Combinations, The Universe, and Creating Equations from Word Problems. (You can even Sing Karaoke in the Equations topic - how cool is that???)

Each "Jam" has a video or slide show that include step by step explanations for all kinds of math and science topics, key vocabulary terms, and a quiz where students can practice what they have just learned.  

Study Jams! can be used in a multitude of ways - students can watch them at a computer center in your classroom, you could take your students into the computer lab and let them explore at their own pace, or they can be shown on your data projector in your classroom. Choose what works best for your students.

Have you used these with your students? What did they think? Which one was their favorite Jam?

Tech Tip Tuesday ... How do you???

Today's Tech Tip is going to be a little different - I'm asking for YOU (yes, you) to share the tips! 

We are very fortunately in our district that most of teachers have a document camera in their classroom that they can use any time. The rest of the teachers will have one very soon or at least have access to several of them on their campuses! 

Here's where the "YOU" get to participate! Please leave a comment on this post about a way you actually use your Document Camera in your classroom. It doesn't have to be anything fancy at all - just share practical uses.  

Go on, you can do it ... just click the Comments link below, share your helpful tip, and click Post Comment. As soon as I "approve" it, it will show up here on the blog! Comments are welcomed from anyone - even out of EM-S ISD people! 


Another great deal ... Dollar Days at Scholastic Teacher Express!

I never really intended for this blog to turn into a "Deal of the Day" site, but this is too good to pass up! Scholastic Express has a great deal going until January 31, 2011. Click on the picture below to check it out!!!

Want to hear even better news? You don't have to worry about getting it to your Kindle, Nook, or iPad set up. These download as PDF files and read them on your computer!

Check these out! THERE ARE HUNDREDS MORE!!!

What do you think? Do you see anything that might be helpful in your classroom?


FREE eBooks for Students of All Ages!

***The deadline for this deal has passed. Hope you were able to download something good!***

I happened upon a great offer from Kaplan that I wanted to share with you. Kaplan (best known for their professional training courses, test prep materials, reference books, etc.) is giving away 130 free eBooks from January 4 - January 17. 

If you are going to start a book study on your campus, check out some of these titles (look at the "Education" section listed below in this email). If you see something you'd like to use, have your teachers download it before Monday and everyone will get a FREE copy!

These books are available on Nook, iBooks (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touches), Kindles and Sony eReaders. If you do NOT have one of these devices, you can download a free application to your computer that will allow you to read eBooks right on your computer! (Directions for how to download these texts are found at the very end of this post)
Most of the material is for students (adult students too!) to prepare for SAT, PSAT, AP, GMAT, MAT, GRE, MCAT, and MBA examinations.  

If you have teachers who are going back to school and going to take the GRE, I would strongly suggest they grab the GRE prep books now while they can! We all know how pricey these test-prep books can be!

Wow ... Spelling City Gets Better!

Great news ... Do you remember my post a while back about Spelling City? Well, it's gotten even better! In fact, after adding a few new games and activities relating to vocabulary, they have renamed themselves! Please be sure to visit Spelling and Vocabulary City to check out the new stuff!


Tech Tip Tuesday ... Tech-Ease

Tech-Ease is a great source for just-in-time answers for classroom technology answers. The site was created by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, but is available for all. I've even got it bookmarked at home!

From the Tech-Ease home page, either search for a topic or choose your computer platform (click the green guy for computers at school).

If you know exactly what you're looking for, try the Search feature. If you're just browsing around the site, there are several categories of classroom help available for you. Choose from Images, Classroom Practice, Chat & Conferencing, Files & Sharing, E-Mail, Hardware, and Internet. 

Each category has a bank of frequently asked questions. When you click on one of these, you will find an easy-to-follow, well-illustrated article that answers the question. 

Here are a few of my favorite topics from this site:
What do you think? Is this a site that could be helpful to you? or your students? or your students' parents?

Tech Tip Tuesday ... Snowflakes!

I grew up in Houston, so paper snowflakes were pretty much the only ones we ever saw. 

I don't think my snowflakes were ever this pretty. In fact, I'm pretty sure that all of my snowflakes were made on recycled copy paper from my mom's work (which means that every snowflake I ever made was on the back of some Church Bulletin or Order of Worship that had one too many typos. 

Paper snowflakes are still fun, but there are all kinds of online sites where students (and you!) can create amazing snowflakes for projects like winter poetry or even a math lesson about symmetry!

You've got to check these out:
  • Make a Flake by Barkley - create your own fabulous flake by using the "scissors" to cut away at the folded "paper". Oh, how wonderful to have an UNDO button if you accidentally snip the wrong spot!  When you're finished, Save your flake for others to see in the gallery! You can also email your flake to a friend or download your flake to your computer to use for any type of winter project!
  • SnowDays by Popular Front - This is one of the best online snowflake sites I've seen! Create your own flake, or catch one of the MILLIONS of falling flakes. I mean literally - millions! As of Monday morning, there had been 10,241,786 snowflakes created on this site!
  • Snowflake Workshop - this site is new to me this year, and what a treasure! This one actually gives you very clear instructions on how to draw the lines with a "pencil" (use the "eraser" if you make a mistake), then click on the "scissors" to cut out the flake. Like the other sites, it gives you a chance to add your name, then the snowflake shows up in a fun gallery for all the world to see and enjoy.
  • Snowflake Designer - this snowflake site is a little different. You choose your type of scissors, then start snipping away. It gives you an instant preview of your beautiful creation. When you are finished, just simply click the "Copy to Clipboard" button, and your design is ready to be pasted into any other document! (I had to load Shockwave for this site to work correctly for me, but it was quick and painless!)

Whether you use these sites just for fun, as part of a classroom activity, or individual student project, I hope you enjoy them!

My hope for all of us this year is that we smile more often, we laugh more often, and we are more open to trying new and innovative things in our classrooms with our students. 

So, how 'bout a little snowflake humor???



Teen Driver Resources

I'm actually having a hard time sharing this with you today, because it's hitting awfully close to home right now. Earlier this week I attended a beautiful memorial service for a dear friend's 16 year old son who was killed in a car accident two days before Christmas. I also have many other friends with young drivers in their families, and my own niece is the proud owner of a Learner's Permit - soon to be driving on her own.

So, when I found this Teen Driver site, it was just too important not to share. Although this really isn't a site I would use with elementary students, many of you have your own kids nearing the driving age, or maybe you could share it with teachers that work with the older kids.

"Toyota and Discovery Education have teamed up to create Toyota Teen Driver, a comprehensive program designed to help teens avoid distractions and help them stay safe behind the wheel."

There are three sections of the site - one for students, one for parents, and one for educators.  
The Students Section includes different Driving quizzes, many educational tools (including budgeting sheets and calculators to help kids figure out if they can afford a car), and a Mutual Driving Agreement.

The Parents Section includes a quiz to help you evalutate your own driving, and then several resources on your role as the parent of a new driver. It also provides several practice driving activities.

The Educators Section includes quizzes to see how prepared we are as educators, lesson plan ideas, and several take-home activities.

Heads Up is an interactive game that kids are sure to love - but it's not just about fun. This is an interactive road distraction challenge. It will hep students practice their driving skills and see how they handle distracting scenarios, such as sending text messages, changing a radio station, or drinking a soda.

I hope this site will be helpful to some of you. 

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